And now for a little light entertainment. Here is the Sonos IKEA Symfonisk Lamp speaker review. Please welcome to the stage IKEA and Sonos, who will be performing a duet in the form of their Symfonisk lamp speaker. The marriage of light and sound is nothing new, of course – God reportedly did it a few billion years ago, of course – but this collaboration between two of the world’s foremost companies in interior design and multi-room audio has been eagerly anticipated since it was mooted what seems like an age ago. What’s more, alongside the Symfonisk bookshelf speaker – a unit you can wall mount and use as an actual floating bookshelf – this lamp is among the cheapest products Sonos has ever produced, offering a healthy saving on the Sonos One.
Sonos IKEA Symfonisk Lamp Speaker Review
Price and availability
The Symfonisk range goes for cheap, with the lamp speaker retailing at $179 / £150 / AU$269 in both black and white colorings (compared to $99 / £99 / AU$149 for the bookshelf speaker). It is available exclusive through IKEA.
IKEA has played its part with the Symfonisk’s striking aesthetic, but those who’ve previously had traumatic experiences with the home interior company’s flat pack furniture need not worry. There’ll be no missing screws, lost marbles or home-wrecking final straws: just screw in a bulb, put in place the shade, plug in the figure-of-eight power lead and your lamp speaker is ready to go.
It hasn’t the slimmest of profiles, but the Symfonisk lamp’s design does well not to go over the top on ornamentation, allowing it to blend into the room should you so wish.
The only other physical connection is an ethernet port – which we’d suggest employing if possible for the fastest and most reliable internet connection – while the rest of the unit is bare but for an on/off light switch, and some play/pause and volume controls for music playback.
The Symfonisk is built to take a standard light bulb, but this of course means you could also choose to fit it with smart bulb – like Philips Hue – and never actually have to tamper with it until it requires changing. The only downside to that would be the necessity of a second app to control lighting, as unsurprisingly that isn’t catered for by Sonos.
You’d be forgiven for assuming the Symfonisk was merely an IKEA lamp with a few drivers tuned? Award-winning partner, but both of the new products slot seamlessly, and completely, into the existing Sonos eco-system.
Using the Sonos control app, you can link the lamp to any other component in the Sonos multi-room family, or pair two of the same speaker to operate in stereo. It’s promised these new speakers will receive all future updates, too – barring those associated with voice control, which isn’t on the menu here.
Both new Symfonisk speakers can also be grouped with Sonos’s AV products – the Beam, Playbar, Playbase and Sonos Amp – and work as rear channels in a 5.0 or 5.1 home audio setup. A solution that is both cost effective and that will blend stylishly into the room without the need for a host of one-trick boxes, we think this could be a major selling point.
You might expect the top end to be quite bright – it’s a lamp; keep up – but the sound emitted from this Symfonisk speaker is actually rather decent, all told. There is plenty of weight to the presentation, as is par for the course with Sonos speakers, and the performance doesn’t lose its focus despite the product’s rounded physique.
Our dialling down of the bass helps keep the soundstage from becoming overly cluttered, without making it sound thin or weak, and there is certainly more space here than with the lamp’s bookshelf counterpart.
Perhaps it’s just us, but we think there’s reason to assume a speaker such as this will largely be used for quieter, background listening, given its parallel purpose as a table lamp, and that’s where this Symfonisk tends to flourish. It certainly isn’t a boring performance, or one to ignore, but the speaker is quite happy to play nice, with no hard edges or irritable tendencies.
It can go loud too, of course, but focussing more on its output starts to highlight a few of the reasons those after truly great multi-room sound will unsurprisingly have to forgo the lighting and either spend a bit more on the Sonos One or change eco-systems to something such as Audio Pro.
It isn’t that the Symfonisk is particularly bad in any regard, but its rhythmic sense and organisation isn’t quite the tightest we’ve heard from a wireless speaker at this price. Though there is certainly more space here than with IKEA and Sonos’s bookshelf speaker, it isn’t impossible for the presentation to seem a little busy, particularly with denser arrangements, and clarity can suffer on such occasions too.
It could offer a little more in the way of dynamic expression, too. The basics are there, with definite discrepancy between loud and soft, but subtler inflections are lost a little when compared with solely audio-focused rivals.